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Is It My Settings, the Input Meter, or The Amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mayidunk, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005
    I recently purchased an Ashdown Electric Blue 180/115. I play a Sting Sig. P-bass thru it. I recently started playing bass after playing at playing the guitar for around 30 years. I also play drums. This is my first high-powered bass amp.

    Anyway, I find that the amp will fart out rather easily when I hit an open A, with the following settings:

    - the amp's input level set all the way up
    - the amp's output level at around 10:00
    - the P-bass is plugged into the hi-Z input
    - the pup output on the bass is turned all the way up
    - the pup tone on the bass is set at about half way
    - the EQ on the amp is set flat
    - the deep enhance on the amp is off
    - the sub-harmonic on the amp is off

    The pup on the Sting Sig. is a vintage style, single coil. It's not a spilt pup.

    Now, it would stand to reason that the amp would be farting out with the settings I've described, except that the input level meter registers only 2-3 green LEDs when it distorts! It would seem that the problem may be with the input meter not reading correctly, rather than the amp distorting!

    From what I've been reading about the EB 180, it should be able to handle the input being at near max, as shown by the meter, and the output being at near max as well. Can someone please help me to understand what's going on here? Perhaps one of you with the same rig can share your experience? I have a couple of weeks before I have to decide whether to return it, and I'm putting it off as long as possible as I bought it over the Web and will have to ship it back, something I'm not looking forward to.

    BTW, I'm new here and this is my first post... hi!

  2. try turning the master volume all the way up and adjusting the volume from the pre-gain, its how some people do it, and it might work

    could always be dodgy pole pieces on the A string i guess?

    seems strange
  3. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005

    I never would've thought about a dodgy pole piece, however it will distort just as much if I hit a fretted A on the E string. So I guess that may rule that one out.

    Thanks for the quick reply!

  4. Mike Money

    Mike Money In Memoriam

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    Well, all bassists know that the A note always distorts. Its the note of SATAN!

  5. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005
    Note of satan, eh? I didn't know that! Okay, so I'm learning some new stuff here, excellent!

  6. DubDubs


    Aug 23, 2004
    Los Angeles
    WOW! Turn down the input volume. Even if it doesn't seem like it's driving the poweamp that much and even on a passive bass you shouldn't have it cranked. Also I wouldn't turn the main past 3 o'clock.
  7. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I'd try it with the Master Vol on 10 and bring up the Input Vol/Gain until you get to a reasonable clean volume. Basically you can ignore the LED for this purpose. Now dig into the A does it distort ? On the open as well as the fifth fret of the E ? How about an octave up on the D ? Try it with G, try it with B and then F ? If the whole range is distorting you are pushing that setup too hard.

    Two issues might be occurring. The internal speaker or the cab may have a flaw that vibrates/resonates at some multiple of 55 hz. OR the bass itself might have some wacky thing again at a multiple of 55 hz. I've had weirdness occur with a loose pick guard screw. The vibrations involved in a bass are a whole other animal from guitar. Get friendly with a can of blue loc-tite!

    ... ummm you're still waiting for your first high powered bass amp. Around these parts 180 watts is a drop in the bucket ... Some of us are running a kilo watt or more. From reading hte posts here, most of us are in the 300 to 500 watt range. Not so much for the volume but for the clarity that comes from tons of headroom. and of course some of us are in musical environments that demand a certain volume ... (like playing with a guitarist who has a twin and really wants to use it.)

    To be fair, you can gig with a 180 watt combo as long as you have front of the house support and don't play with guys that have to knock the walls down with their guitars or drum kit.
    Keep us posted!
  8. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005
    I agree with you, that's why I was curious about the input meter possibly not reading correctly as is would stand to reason that it should be registering into the yellow at least.

    Okay, so perhaps the meter isn't reliable. Does anyone with an EB 180 ever experience the same thing?

  9. I would turn down the input gain. Back it off to maybe 1 or 2 oclock at the most, and bring the master volume up to around 12-3oclock. You might be overdriving the preamp with it cranked.
  10. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005
    Heh heh... I suppose I should've used the tongue-in-cheek icon with that one! ;)

    Blue locktite, eh? Seems being a bassist involves a lot more than just playing!

  11. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    We due seem to get a little more involved. We more or less have to. Our rigs are subjected to more power and vibration than the average guitar rig. A 100 watt tube guitar amp is a frightening thought for most bass players and a 100 watt bass amp is pretty much either a boutique recording bass amp or a practice amp ...

    I use the blue loc-tite on one of my basses bridge piece screws. It helps keep the piece at the correct height. I've done that on an old Tele as well. Works like a charm ... Does nicely for holding SPD cleats on my bike shoes as well!
  12. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005
    Guess I'll have to remember to pack the tool box on gigs.

    I appreciate everyone's replies, please keep them coming!

  13. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005
    Bump it.
  14. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005
    Just once more.
  15. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005
    I sent Ashdown a copy of my original post, and they want me to send the head back to them so they can apply an upgrade to the circuit. Apparently, what I'm describing is what the upgrade fixes!

    Turn-around time should be 2-3 weeks! I'll keep you all posted.

    In the meantime, I want to thank everyone for their input, and especially for not flaming me for what was a, "No Sh** Sherlock!," kind of posting on my part. You're good people! :D

  16. It sounds like you will have the problem fixed. I have an older Mag 200 and a Peacemaker 40 guitar amp and both of them have had VU meter problems, so my first suspicion was that there was a problem with your meter / LEDs. Otherwise I love the amps. On my Mag I find that turning the input gain much past 12 noon resuts in too much distortion, no matter what else I do. I usually operate with the input gain between 9 and noon.
  17. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005
    Yeah, it sounded more like like an input metering issue than a distortion problem. Thanks for taking the time to confirm my suspicions!

    More to follow...

  18. Joe Beets

    Joe Beets Guest

    Nov 21, 2004
    Maybe you're expecting more than 180 watts can give. An amp that size usually has a F.R. (fartage ratio) of around 75 to 80....not good. Even with no bass boost, this amp will reach the threshold of farting long before it gets loud enough. Unless, of course, your drummer plays only with brushes, and you are backing up some folk singers. :eek:
  19. I'd turn the bass guitar down a bit, maybe a lot. Then turn up the master to make up the difference in volume, see if it still happens. If its an active bass, try turning on the input pad or use the active input instead.

    That would probably eliminate the input overloading as the culprit. Not sure that's what's going on though. Since you're not pegging the needle even with the input gain all the way up, input overloading is pretty unlikely, unless the meter is miscalibrated. But turning the guitar down, master up should confirm that.

    I had a cab where some internal bracing came loose, caused vibration at certain freqs. I used glue and wood screws to keep it tight. The wood split was very hard to see I had to push against the braces to see it move. A sliver of wood from the back of the cab was fixed to the brace, floating around just over the back of the cab as I pushed the brace.

    Heck, sometimes at high volumes, my windows/china vibrate, hard to pin it down sometimes.

    Hopefully the upgrade will fix this though, so it won't be a problem going forward.

    Regarding the A note being the Devil's note, there are restrictions to discussing religious things on the forum, so we don't advertise the "A" thing too much. But those of us in the know are aware of the connection, and are monitoring the use of "A" as appropriate.

  20. mayidunk


    Jun 20, 2005
    Got the amp back from Ashdown (It only took them three months to fix it!) And the results...?

    Fixed! :cool: I cranked that input up, and no fartage! I cranked the output up, and just a slight edge of distortion with the dreaded 'A' but that, too, seemed to go away a short time later!


    They did the upgrade to the circuit, but claimed they didn't experience the problem I was describing (perhaps they did the upgrade first...).

    So, I'm a happy camper. Thanks for all the input!

    Also, for any of you who are needing to get work done on your combo amp, check with Ashdown about your being able to just send them the amp without the speaker cab. I was allowed to do that, as long as it was packed properly. Saved mucho denero on shipping!

    I gotta say that my experience with Ashdown with this service was excellent! I waited for a bit for them to get it fixed, but when I finally asked about it, they got it back to me within a week! Not too bad, I must say!

    Bob :D

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